I think I read a fanfic like this once, Jazz thought, sighing at the rock-and-icefall where the cavern exit used to be.

Ironhide, apparently finally giving up on trying to move the landslide by hand, came back scowling. Or at least Jazz would have bet his last cube of high grade that Ironhide was scowling. The saboteur had switched to infrared in the darkness, and Ironhide was little more than a mech-shaped heatblob on his HUD. A heatblob that was bleeding streamers of warmth into the Arctic air. Jazz imagined he looked much the same. Possibly even worse. He was smaller, his plating lighter and looser on his frame.

"Damn seekers," Ironhide grumbled, picking his way across the rock-strewn floor, "They had to pick NOW to learn how to shoot?"

Jazz cocked his head, running a check on his communications array, then on his gyros. He felt ruefully at the dent in his helm. A chunk of the ceiling had caught him when the seekers' missiles had collapsed the tunnel entrance. "At least they missed US."

Ironhide snorted.

Jazz's comm crackled. ::Ironhide, Jazz, do you copy?::

Jazz relaxed just a bit. Intellectually he knew that they weren't all that far from their comrades. The spec ops agent in him, though, did not like being trapped and was all too happy to throw worst-case scenarios at his processor. ::We copy, Prime. We're both fine. Trapped in here, but fine. How goes the battle?:: Jazz was more than a little concerned about that. They'd come equipped to search for a stray energon signal, not a fight. The seekers showing up had not been in the game plan.

Prime's comm sounded weary. ::At a bit of a stalemate, unfortunately. The good news is that the Decepticons seem to have no interest in further harrying you.::

::Almost wish they would! They'd have to dig us out of here to do it!:: Jazz sent back cheerfully.

::Let me guess,:: Ironhide growled over the line, ::The bad news is that you can't get to us, either.::

::Right. Can you two hold where you are?:: Optimus asked.

::Should be able to,:: Ironhide said. ::Like Jazz said, we're fine 'cept that we're stuck.::

::Good. Hold position, then. We'll dig you out as soon as possible.::

::Understood,:: Jazz and Ironhide both replied.

A new signal on the line was saturated with Ratchet's CMO designations. ::Injuries?::

::Took a bump on the head when the entrance came down, but I'm not reading any loss of function or errors,:: Jazz replied. ::Take a lickin' and keep on tickin', that's me. Ironhide, too.::

::Good. How are your core temperatures?::

::In the green for now,:: Ironhide replied, ::but still dropping.:: Jazz sent a wordless "me too" ping. His core temp had dropped five percent since he'd stepped from Skyfire's nice warm interior onto the packed snow an hour ago. It had been expected, given the harsh environment, and the weather had been only a slight inconvenience when they'd thought to be through with their investigation in an hour or two. "Slightly inconvenient" had swiftly changed to "potentially dangerous" now that their escape was cut off.

Ratchet, of course, knew that all too well. ::It shouldn't be a problem unless we can't get to you in the next hour or so. You have your environmental gear?::

"Er..." Ironhide said aloud, as if he checked his subspace.

Jazz patted his own subspace generator. ::Yeah, got it, Ratch. We're out of the wind in here, so a few thermals, we should be fine.::

::All right. Keep me posted if either of you sink into the red.::

::Can do.:: Jazz sighed and squinted at the dark shapes that were the snow-and-ice-covered ground, looking for a place to hole up, or at least sit. "Well, looks like we get a bit of a rest, eh old timer?"

"Yeah. Great," Ironhide grunted, sounding distracted. When Jazz looked back, Ironhide's arm was deep in his subspace, then reappeared empty. "Uh. Small problem. Forgot my enviro kit."

Jazz turned to look at him incredulously, for what good it did in the semidark. "What? Seriously?"

Ironhide growled a sound somewhere between frustration and embarrassment. "Know exactly where it is. Pulled it out last night to check it over this morning, then came out of recharge to the alarm and didn't grab it. Rookie mistake." He hunched his shoulders a bit in what was definitely embarrassment. "Sorry."

"Aw, s'okay, 'Hide. I got mine, so we should be good." Jazz pulled his own kit out of his subspace. A quick check of his core temp let him know why a thermal blanket was sounding mighty good right now. Unfortunately, A thermal was all he had. That and a portable chemical heater, which he eagerly cracked the seals on. The cavern they were stuck in was probably too big for it to do much good, but at least they'd have something to huddle around.

Ironhide sat down next to the heater with a sigh of relief, his back set against the broad metal stump to warm his internals. "Aaah, that's the stuff."

Jazz looked down at the thermal in his hand, then eyed Ironhide. Jazz knew he'd heat up quickly with the heater, but Ironhide was bigger, his limbs longer and his extremities harder to warm...

"Don't even think about it," Ironhide said, cracking one optic open. "You're bleedin' heat all over the place. I'm fine. Use the slagging blanket. Sir."

Jazz chuckled and draped said blanket around himself, settling against Ironhide's shoulder, back to the heater. Oh man, did that feel good, Jazz's plating warming almost instantly and his core temp rising steadily. For a long moment, all that could be heard was the pinging of warming metal and the faint, unmistakable sound of battle, missile- and rocketfire filtered to soft whump!s through the stone.

Jazz wondered again how the battle was going, but gave it up after a few minutes. There wasn't anything he could do about it, anyway, and no way were Starscream and his flunkies going to outdo Prime and the others. If they called for reinforcements, though... Jazz shook his head. This is a tiny skirmish. Been through a thousand of them. They'll be fine.

Jazz looked over at Ironhide, his voice cheerful. "So! Game of cyclohex?"

Ironhide, as it turned out, did not play cyclohex ("Pfft! With MY processor? Might as well play against yourself."). Jazz offered to teach him poker, but Ironhide refused ("So it's a luck-based lying game, with stakes? Against YOU? Oh PIT no.") In the end, though, Ironhide was delighted to find that Jazz knew how to play an old tactics game called Phorenix. Which was just as well, since Phorenix could go on for hours, and they were nearly an hour in when the comm crackled to life again. ::Prime to Jazz and Ironhide.::

Jazz perked at his leader's voice. ::Here, Prime. What's the score?::

::No casualties, and the Decepticons are retreating.::

::'Bout time,:: Ironhide muttered.

::Yes. Hoist has scanned the collapsed cavern entrance and determined that it will take several hours to free you. Most of the mountain came down on top of you. But unfortunately, there's another situation.::

Jazz and Ironhide looked at each other. ::Lemme guess, that weather front caught up with us?:: Jazz asked.

::Exactly. Between the wind and the temperature drop, your core temperatures are probably faring better than ours. And with the energon drain of the battle-::

Jazz and Ironhide shared another wordless look. ::It's okay, Prime,:: Ironhide cut in. ::We're fine. Core temps are back up. Heater's cooling down, but it'll be hours before our temps start dropping again.::

::Yeah,:: Jazz chimed in. ::We're safe, boss bot. Just come back when the snow stops flying, yeah?::

::...I sense that I'm being herded.:: Optimus sighed. ::Very well. We will retreat to wait out the storm. We should not be out of comm range-::

::Meaning,:: Ratchet interrupted, ::that you COMM us the second you slip into the red.::

::We will return for you as soon as we can.:: Amusement crept into Optimus' voice. ::Try to get some rest.::

::Heh, understood, Prime. Jazz out.::

Ironhide sighed, turning to poke at the heater. "Cooling down" as pretty accurate. It would be no better than ambient in the next hour or two.

"Yeah," Jazz said, resettling the thermal around his shoulders. "Not a whole lot of juice left."

Ironhide slanted a look at him. "I assume your core temp IS ok? You didn't say anything."

"Eh, it's ok."

Ironhide just continued to Look at him. "Jazz."

Jazz huddled defensively under the thermal, then gamely poked his arms out into the frigid air to shrug. "What? Okay, okay, it's 5% down. Still fine!"

Ironhide sighed, eyeing the heater, the blanket, and Jazz. He tugged the heater over to the rock wall of the cave, and gestured. "Come on." He waved again when Jazz just cocked his head at him, then pointed at the space between himself and the heater. "Officers go here."

Jazz chuckled. "Motherhen." He moved over to the indicated space. "Not that I'm complaining. Here. You take the thermal for awhile, and we'll switch out, all right?"

Ironhide refused to be budged. Except if it was to move closer, turning to wrap his arms around Jazz's sides and cage him in against the not-so-hot heater. "YOU keep the thermal, and we'll switch out when your core temp is back to normal. Sir."

Jazz sighed. "Stubborn old bot. Insubordinate, too."

Ironhide shifted again, settling his legs on either side of Jazz's thermal-bundled frame. "You can toss me in the brig when we get back."

Jazz suggested they play for it. They went back to their Phorenix game.

By the time Ironhide had saved himself from brig time by winning by the slightest of margins, the heater had gone cold, and both of them were feeling the chill again. The faint shriek of blizzard winds through the rockfall trapping them in only made it seem colder. "This ain't gonna work," Ironhide said.

"S'fine!" Jazz protested.

"Jazz...you're RATTLING. I can hear you."

"O-kay. M-maybe a l-little. S'not dangerous, though. Still above the redline."

"Yeah, just damned uncomfortable, I bet."

"Eh," Jazz said evasively.

Ironhide tugged at Jazz's arm. "C'mere. Got an idea."

Ironhide's idea was to tuck them BOTH into the remaining blanket. It made sense, Jazz had to admit, especially after they'd both been bundled up and Ironhide's frame had been blissfully WARM against his own plating. He had to chuckle, though. "I DEFINITELY read a fanfic like this once."

"What," Ironhide grumbled, tucking the blanket around them a bit more securely, "is a fanfic?"

Jazz wiggled a little bit, trying to find a comfortable position. Eventually he found that simply curling up in Ironhide's lap, tucked under his windshield worked the best. "Don't you ever get on Usenet?"

Ironhide snorted, not even dignifying that with a response.

"You should. It's fun. Anyway. Fanfic's a subcategory of human entertainment. Amateur stories written about other peoples' fictional characters."

Ironhide stopped his attempts to tug the thermal to cover more area than was physically possible. "...and this has to do with being trapped in a slagging freezing cave how?"

"The writers seem kinda fond of orchestrating a scenario that traps together two characters. I think they call it blanketfic, because it's kind of common for the characters to be forced to share a blanket or a bed or something. Usually characters the authors think should sleep together."

"Sleep together?"

"Have sex. Mate."

"Oh." Ironhide evidently thought about that for a long moment. "I don't get it. Why?"

"Why write it? Because they find it hot, I guess."

"I wouldn't mind getting you hot," Ironhide grumbled. "S'slagging cold in here." Ironhide shifted his legs a bit, tucking the thermal around beneath them, trapping Jazz in his lap in a blissfully warming tent of air.

"Not that kind of hot," Jazz said. "Aroused hot."

"...Why do they call it hot? Their body temperature doesn't change unless they're sick."

"Well, yeah, but evidently it FEELS hot to them when they're aroused."

Ironhide's frame vented an internal-hot sigh, which felt rather delightful against the back of Jazz's helm. "I really don't get human mating behaviors."

"Yeah, neither do I. Still kinda fascinating, though."

"If you say so."

Jazz tucked his helm against Ironhide's torso. This close, he could hear the steady, rhythmic throb of Ironhide's spark, just above his head. That and the deep, steady hum of his systems against Jazz's audials was reassuring. It wasn't often that there was time to just lie with someone for the joy of it. It almost made up for not being able to SEE through the thermal. Jazz offlined his optics. His IR was slowly warming to a uniform pink anyway. "So. Sure you don't want to learn poker?"

"Pit no."

"Phorenix again?"

Ironhide rumbled agreement, wrapped his arms around Jazz's frame, and sent him an opening move.